This Sunday’s service: The life of Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

Please join us this Sunday, March 22, when Tom Duff will present the story of Bayard Rustin, a black Quaker gay singer who received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Rustin is known as the organizer of the March on Washington in 1963, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Rustin was always eloquent himself, and shocked one’s expectations with his Oxford accent.

Rustin met Duff in 1952. Like Rustin, Duff was a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and a conscientious objector. Rustin convinced Duff to join the Congress of Racial Equality to work in the North, experimenting with non-violent social action.

Two years later, when Dr. King got his first church in Alabama at the start of an NAACP bus strike, A.J. Muste, founder of the fellowship, dispatched Rustin to persuade King to change the protest into an example of Gandhian pacifist non-violence. Rustin and a half-dozen others had been offering workshops on non-violence in churches and colleges for some years throughout the South. When King decided to embrace pacifism, the support of a dozen prominent black leaders was already assured to him.

Tom thinks that is almost a miracle.

The service leader will be Peter VanDeBogert.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by coffee and fellowship at about 11:30. Religious education classes are offered, and visitors are always welcome.